CINCINNATI- Today, The American Civil Liberties Union of Ohio will appear before the U.S Court of Appeals for the Sixth District, arguing that a 2004 Ohio law restricting the use of mifepristone is unconstitutional. Mifepristone, also known as RU-486, is a medication that can terminate a pregnancy without subjecting the patient to surgery. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration approved its use to terminate a pregnancy in 2000.

“This law takes medical decisions out of the hands of doctors and intrudes into the lives of families, unduly burdening them with surgery when a non-invasive medication is readily available,” said ACLU of Ohio Executive Director Christine Link. “Doctors and families are in the best position to make medical decisions, not legislators.”

“When mifepristone became available, many believed it would usher in an era where families could make healthcare decisions in a much more private manner,” added Link. “Many opponents of reproductive justice saw danger in this, which is why laws like this exist. The only reason to impose these harsh restrictions on safe, effective medication is to make it more costly and difficult to use than need be.”

Immediately after its passage, Planned Parenthood filed suit to stop the law from going into effect and to have it declared unconstitutional. The ACLU of Ohio is co-counsel in this ongoing case, which is known as Planned Parenthood v DeWine. The case has moved back and forth between lower court and appellate court several times in the last eight years.

“In practice, this law forces women to ingest three times more mifepristone than is medically necessary and bans use of the medication after an arbitrary date even though it could still be used safely and effectively,” said Link. “Legislators are restricting medical options, which ties doctor’s hands and forces families to choose invasive surgery. If upheld, this law would set terrible precedent, not just for reproductive freedom, but for medical freedom as a whole.”

Read the brief. (pdf - large file - may take awhile to load)